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Comments on "The ABC of ROFFEKE" Screenings (September 2015 at iHub)

I liked all the films especially the one for Superman [“This is Joe”] and the last one which was longer [“ Frontman ”]. I look forward to at...

Friday, May 24, 2019

Reviews: The Riveters by Kate Felix

On 13th and 14th May and 20th and 21st May, I was privileged to conduct a Basics of Screenwriting Masterclass at Talanta Institute. On the 13th, we covered Differences between screenwriting and other types of creative writing, types of protagonists, types of antagonists, the logline and S.M.A.R.T goals. We went through the students’ loglines and critiqued them.


On the 14th, we begun by watching #ROFFEKEOFFICIALSELECTION2018 “The Riveters”, which was written and directed by Kate Felix.

"Fed up with her 'lame duck' status, The Upstart decides to face The Patriarch in a 1940's feminist throw-down"



DIRECTOR STATEMENT

"We have created this film to explore the barriers, historic and contemporary, to women making films. It was written, produced, and edited by an all-woman crew. All women, only women, start to finish (with the exception of the two male actors!). With it' s short run time and powerful, unapologetic message, this film would be an ideal piece to introduce or conclude a shorts program.

This is the Director/Screenwriter's first film. She is a mother of 3 with another full time job who still somehow manages to get awesome ideas on to the screen. All of the women in this production collaborated both in and outside of their traditional professional roles to make this program a success. This film is a testament to what women can do when they give themselves permission to go out and kick ass."

We used "The Riveters" to recap what we had learned on Day 1. I later asked the students five questions related to the short film. Below are some of their answers:

1.What did you like about the short film?

It was short and precise, straight to the point.
- Edminah Kanana M.

It was Clear and precise ,the protagonist, antagonist and goal was clearly brought out.
- Fredrick Kimani.

It was brief and to the point.
- Moses a.ka. Pinto.

I liked the short film on how they managed to tell the story in less than two minutes.
- Denzon Mau.

There is the protagonist, antagonist and one is able to know the goal because it's clear.
- Carol Kanyora.


2.What didn't you like about the short film?

They did not show us what next, what she planned to do when her proposal was rejected.
- Edminah Kanana M.

The suspense it left me with.
- Moses a.k.a Pinto.

I didn't like how the film ended. If one is not keen enough he/she may not know the protagonist’s final decision.
- Denzon Mau.

I didn't get know if she became a filmmaker.
-Fredrick Kimani.

Nothing. To me it's perfect.
- Carol Kanyora.


3.What does this short film remind you of?

The film reminds me some of the challenges that some film makers go through because not everyone especially the parents appreciate film as a career.
- Denzon Mau.

The day I told my parents that I wanted to engage myself in acting, out of the love I had for it. I wanted to be the next Natalie Portman (world famous actress) but they wanted me to be an engineer. It was a hectic time to convince them.
- Carol Kanyora.

My friend whose parents chose an engineering course for her, and that was not her passion. She did the course and took the certificate to them. She started hustling to help herself study for art and design.
- Edminah Kanana M.

There must be a protagonist,antagonist and a goal.
- Fredrick Kimani.

The lecturer on Act 1
- Moses a.k.a Pinto.

4. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being very poor and 10 being excellent, how would you rate this film?

8/10...very good.
- Edminah.

On a scale of 1 to 10 I give it 5 because it was fair
- Denzon.

A 9
- Fredrick Kimani.

5
- Carol.

8
- Moses a.k.a Pinto

5. Any other thoughts you would like to add about the short film?

They should at least have shown us what they were going to do next now that the man had refused.
- Denzon Mau

Even though we can predict through her smile what will happen next,they should have shown us what happened maybe.
- Carol Kanyora

Act in 21st century style, to make it more attractive, capture attention.
- Edminah Kanana M.

It was interesting.
- Fredrick Kimani.

I enjoyed it.
- Moses a.k.a Pinto

'The Riveters' touches on SDG 5



Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Review: Solo Una Vita

Reviewer: Mutendei Writes

Solo Una Vita is a captivating film from start to end, its small production mishaps notwithstanding the film’s overall quality.

With a smooth introduction of a captivating mystery into its opening, the film immediately establishes who its main characters are within the first opening scenes.

With the mystery established, the mystery morphs into an artistic dissection of what community is all about, and exemplifies that community is not necessarily about the size of a group but the connections between them.

Connections that grow between the three main characters, Gea, a struggling but ambitious songstress or singstress as the movie captions her; Elvira, the aptly wise grandmother and landlady of the story and lastly; Nicola, the movie’s mystery and most damaged genius.
As an odd community, the three characters heal themselves by assisting each other with their uniquely specific problems, with the aim of overcoming their challenges, fears and losses.

The result is a rock (soft rock) movie dedicated to the positivity of art, without the assumptively assumed negatives associated with Rock music like, drugs, transactional sex, violence or mania.

If the movie was to be redone in the constructs of the English language, its title may have well been “The Fault among our stars.” However that title is already taken. Not that there is any need to worry or consider an English remake as the Italian (with dashes of Sicilian) music movie clearly establishes its own unblemished and standalone identity.

Identity becomes the back bone of the film and the central theme discussed through the interactions of the cast. In respect to the identity of the film, as mentioned by some of the audience members that watched it at a ROFFEKE event on February 13th at the August 7th Memorial Park in Nairobi, it seems to have been copied by another big budget Hollywood release that also focuses around struggling musicians; an opinion which should encourage you to be the judge of this for yourself.

While it starts out as a music film, it grows beyond that to be a film that covers the discourse and dynamics of art as a whole; the film is so well developed that any other genre of art could be swapped in for music and still have the same effect.

This allows different artists to step into the shoes of the musicians portrayed on screen and embrace the similarities, if any, of human artistic challenges they face.

Using music as a medium, the film explores art in its entirety as an exposition of human nature and not an escape. It presents art as an instrument of healing and coping mechanism for the failures of society and challenges of human existence.

Art is a tool for the exploration of the human condition and art is a home that the artists can be proud of building and developing their souls and talent within.

The film explores many metaphors relevant to human life and focuses on facets that everyone should consider.

Everyone plays different notes and everyone sings and writes differently, a reality that the film uses to highlight the fact that your problems are not bigger than the next person's, and should be considered in the same weight one assigns to one’s own burdens.

Elvira the wise grandmother and landlady, embodies this as a practice, through her own art of Kitsugi, a Japanese practice developed with the belief that “we are better when we fix our broken parts with better things!”

Without Art, we lose ourselves and our humanity.

Solo Una Vita clearly establishing art as a worthy undertaking. The film also explores what we give up for our art and the price we pay. What is the price of pursuing one’s dreams and can the price ever be too high?

Art is about hope. Art begins in Chaos and ends in harmony.

While the film fantastically succeeds in its exploration of art and the human condition, it is not without shortcomings which were alluded to at the beginning of this review.

The film’s transition from credits to first scene is a quick cut in and counterproductive in respect to establishing the film’s mood.

The film does have several errors in its subtitles either due to translation or truncation errors.

In addition to this while the film runs its course, some of the camera angles result in blurred focus and poor character tracking.

With quality of photography being a key consideration in any film, the film also seems to go overboard in cut aways and scenic landscape fillers that do not necessarily further the film and story’s agenda.

The film would have also benefitted from including flashbacks of the loss suffered by Nicola, to give more weight to the character’s burden and better connect the audience to his condition.

These downsides however, are a far cry from outweighing the good of the film, and by its strengths the film is a great investment for one and a half hours of your time.

Mutendei Bio

Mutendei Writes (Elias Nabutete) a Kenyan writer, with Kenyan & Canadian life experiences, writes & performs under the penname Mutendei Writes. As an artistic writer, using original, creative & structured writing, covering unique, genre inspired material, moving beyond the limiting modern day mainstream spectrum of content has been Mutendei Writes. Interweaving modern & cultural inclinations, with vivid storylines, Mutendei Writes artistically creates written & Spoken Word Poetry, along with short stories. With four unique books; The Poetry Express, The IdeaBankisms, Shadow Walkers & Everything Mutendei. Mutendei Writes has also maintained monthly website releases on mutendeiwrites.wordpress.com, adding to his works, while enabling others to pursue their literary goals.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Interview: Javier Lozano Sánchez - "Better Whole" director, writer, producer

ROFFEKE: When you were 6 years old, you started drawing comics based on your favourite movies from the eighties. What were some of these eighties movies that inspired you?

JAVIER: My first comics were based on the movie King Kong (1933) I drew several sequels. King Kong never dies in my comics. By the time I was 13 I had already drawn comics based on Ghostbusters, Robocop, Aliens, Terminator, Batman, Darkman, Star Wars, Mad Max, and many more. My first stories were almost copies from those. I think they taught me how to tell a story. It's something I learned very young, so I really feel comfortable writing stories. After those amazing comics I started to develop my own ideas.

ROFFEKE: You made your first short film with a hi-8 camera when you were 13. What was the short film about? How long did it take you to make the film? What did you learn from the experience?

JAVIER: It was about a mouse from outer space. A boy (my little brother) finds it and then the mouse turns into a kind of gremlin. It was like a home invasión movie, but with a gremlin. The gremlin was a puppet of Ernie (Sesame street) we really customized for the occasion; it even danced in a scene!

We made the short in a week. I had to edit on camera, so I recorded and watched and then we repeated again and again. The short lasted almost 15 minutes.

I learned that it's more difficult to make films than to imagine them. It was an incredible experience, I had no idea about making a short film. There wasn't youtube to look for a tutorial!

ROFFEKE: What lessons did you learn from doing the Better Whole music video?

JAVIER: I learned a lot about visual effects, especially about 3D compositing. It was the first time I used a green screen with actors (musicians in this case). But everything turned out ok. Better Whole is a first step for more ambitious projects.

And I realized again, like in all the projects I'm involved (especially in short films), that it's very difficult to get that incredible image you have in mind. I think images and emotions are mixed in your mind, so they are almost impossible to reproduce. You need to deal with that and try the hardest to get something similar to what you imagine and feel.

ROFFEKE: If you had a budget of 1 million dollars, what would you do different for the Better Whole music video?

JAVIER: I think it would be better technically, and... well... honestly, if I had a million dollars I would not spend it on a music video or a short film... I would probably finance my humble film production company. .. Maybe I'll end up doing the same, but it will take me a lot more time without 1 million to start.

ROFFEKE: If you had a chance to go back in time to meet your 13 year old self just before you made your first short film, what advice would you give him?

JAVIER: Make the short film, make more, and do not doubt about what you really want. I'll tell him: As soon as you finish high school, go do what you really want and forget about everything fucking else.

And after that, I'll visit Doc Brown.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

"Alone" joins the ranks of films with rock-fueled end credits

The Matrix had it. Dogma had it. Fight Club had it. And now Alone has it.

The Matrix
“Wake Up” by Rage Against the Machine

Very fitting because: “By the end of the film, Neo literally wakes up from the technology induced slavery…”



Dogma
“Still” by Alanis Morissette

Very fitting because: “The story revolves around two fallen angels who plan to employ an alleged loophole in Catholic dogma to return to Heaven after being cast out by God;”

I am your joy and your regret
I am your fury and your elation
I am your yearning and your sweat
I am your faithless and your religion

I see you altering history
I see you abusing the land
I see you and your selective amnesia
And I love you still
And I love you still



Fight Club
“Where is my mind?” by The Pixies

Very fitting because: “No song has better captured the tone, mood and message of a film quite like this classic…”

With your feet in the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Your head will collapse
But there's nothing in it
And you'll ask yourself

Where is my mind
Where is my mind
Where is my mind





Alone
“Mental Power” by Simply Tomas

Like Fight Club, “Alone” deals with matters of the mind. “Mental Power” by Kenyan rock artist Simply Tomas is simply, a perfect fit.

I cannot understand
The need to live like this
I want to take control
Before I lose my mind

Bridge:
Siwezi kuu-kataa
Kuna shida kubwa
Siwezi ku-kataa
Shida ni lazima

Chorus: X 2
(But) I’ve got mental powers
Working with spiritual powers
Even in the crazy hours
To keep me from self-destruction



“ALONE” SYNOPSIS.
ALONE is a psychological drama set in modern day Kenya.

EUGENE NJOGU 28 (Mwaura Bilalal) a hardworking, timid desk police officer with mild bipolar and OCD wants to earn his father’s approval and admiration by getting a promotion to a police spokesperson but his father PAUL SENIOR 61 (Ian Mbugua), for reasons not immediately revealed, gives him an ultimatum to either quit his job or risk being cut off from the inheritance will.

With the assistance from his happy go lucky artistic leaning brother MARTIN (Brain Shikhuyu) he has to navigate a series of extreme challenges from his boss Chief Inspector Malonzi (Clara Alitsi) and his father; leading to a grand revelation of their shared love and bond.

This is a story that touches on the sensitive issue of mental health and the family, hope, redemption and self-discovery.

#AloneFilmKE

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Reviews: The Neighbor (#ROFFEKEOFFICIALSELECTION2018)

Writer - Zain Ashar
Director - Reinaldo Garcia
Producer - Ricky Cruz
"Luke" - Zain Ashar
"Joe" - Willem van der Vegtkey
"Landlord" - Lucia O'Brienkey

Review by Mutendei

Right off the bat "The Neighbor" shows that a neighbor sometimes is the exact opposite of the word's meaning. Neighbour highlights that we sometimes can get more than we bargained for in the selection of habitation and that people just as much as space and amenities impact the quality of our living space.

"The Neighbor" opens admirably with a good pan acting as a neat transition into the first scene. The cut-aways in between the dialogue of the first two characters we see, hints at unwelcomed company and the cringe worthiness that the lady landlord runs away from. Just because someone hooks you up, doesn't mean they are doing you a bigger favor than the one they are doing themselves.

Having been hinted at being cringe worthy, Luke, the unwanted attention giver, in this case doesn't disappoint in playing his role, opposite the new guy, Joe who as yet unfamiliar with the irritancy of his neighbor, accurately and believably portrays a human response to his indoctrination to the neighbor menace.

From a technical production standpoint, "The Neighbor" moves at a very good pace giving a balanced view to the developments as the film progresses, one scene not losing its relevance to others, either before or after. The film however does not resonate extra emotion in the well-acted and scripted scenes due to the lack of a soundtrack, which is completely absent and a downside to the film, whether intentional or as the result of an omission.

In summary the film aptly explores the boundaries of human interaction linked to habitation and related social dynamics. In exploring this, "The Neighbor" cinematically expounds two truisms of human nature, the first being that familiarity breeds contempt and the second being that "birds of a feather, flock together" indeed.

I believe the overall point of "The Neighbor" is a question, which it internally debates rather well, a question which we all face day to day in some way: do we own our own space?

Audio Review by Wanjiku Francis



Audio Review by Chacha Rich



Audio Review by Kimathi Geoffrey



Mutendei Bio

Mutendei Writes (Elias Nabutete) a Kenyan writer, with Kenyan & Canadian life experiences, writes & performs under the penname Mutendei Writes. As an artistic writer, using original, creative & structured writing, covering unique, genre inspired material, moving beyond the limiting modern day mainstream spectrum of content has been Mutendei Writes. Interweaving modern & cultural inclinations, with vivid storylines, Mutendei Writes artistically creates written & Spoken Word Poetry, along with short stories. With four unique books; The Poetry Express, The IdeaBankisms, Shadow Walkers & Everything Mutendei. Mutendei Writes has also maintained monthly website releases on mutendeiwrites.wordpress.com, adding to his works, while enabling others to pursue their literary goals.